Old South’s Crown Jewel
There’s lots of excitement on the corner of Wortley and Elmwood these days and one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is “What’s happening with the Normal School?” Well, let me fill you in.
Just recently, city council approved a 10-year lease of the Normal School to the YMCA. The Y will also have an option to renew the lease for an additional 10 years afterwards. The main floor of the building will be used for childcare and an upper floor will be used for administrative offices. There will also be additional space for community programs including language lessons and youth activities. Interior construction is expected to start within a month and the Y is hoping to move into the building by the summer of 2016.
This public/non-profit partnership couldn’t have happened without the tireless work of people in our community. Our neighbourhood was loud and clear in its desire to help preserve Old South’s Crown Jewel. Over the past decade, efforts by the Old South Community Organization, city staff and councillors and our former MPP Chris Bentley were instrumental in convincing the province and city hall to find a way to keep the building in the public realm. This success of this project is such a shining example of the power of neighbours working together for great cause.
Another benefit of the City’s acquisition of the Normal School property is that we now can officially claim ‘The Green’ as a city park. For years, the neighbourhood has used the greenspace behind the Normal School as a park but, until now, it was never really ours. The Green is now protected and ours to share and enjoy for many years to come.
So how do we celebrate? In Old South style, of course! June 6thwill mark the 33rd annual ‘Gathering on The Green’ hosted by the Old South Community Organization. Dunk tanks, BBQs, tea garden, pet show, live entertainment… all the ingredients for a great party. I hope to see you there. This truly is one of my favourite events of the year.